Votto looks good in rehab but Bats fall 5-1 [Sports]

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COLUMBUS, Oh. -- The Louisville Bats will have to win their final two games to avoid distinction as the worst team in franchise history. The Columbus Clippers completed a five-game sweep of the Bats 5-1 on a rain-soaked Saturday night. 9,763 were at Huntington Park for the Clippers’ final home game of 2012.

Vinny Rottino’s two-run homer in the fourth gave Columbus starter Matt Packer all the offensive support he needed. Packer (1-4) dominated Louisville, giving up just one run on five hits over eight innings of work. Packer struck out a season-high nine batters without walking any.

The lone run Packer surrendered came on a fourth inning home run by rehabbing Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto that gave the Bats a 1-0 lead.

Votto, who had surgery on his left knee July 14, went 1-for-3 with the homer and struck out twice. It was Votto’s first home run for the Bats since he played 133 games with the club in 2007.

“I thought he looked good and he was moving well,” Bats manager David Bell said. “If we hadn’t seen him, you’d never have known he was hurt.”

Votto is not scheduled to play again with the Bats and should rejoin the Reds Monday.

Columbus put away all doubt about the outcome in the eighth, getting three runs on five hits against Bill Bray, another rehabber from Cincinnati. In seven rehab appearances with the Reds since the start of August, Bray has given up eight earned runs on ten hits in seven innings of work.

The loss dropped the Bats to 51-91 on the season, meaning they must win their final two games of the season to avoid tying the 92-loss mark of the 1991 Redbirds, the most in franchise history. Louisville finished the season with a 22-51 road record, setting a franchise record for the most road losses in franchise history.

Louisville returns home to conclude the 2012 season against the Indianapolis Indians Sunday. Todd Redmond (8-10, 3.31 ERA) will be on the mound for the Bats opposed by Chris Leroux (4-0, 3.11 ERA) for Indianapolis. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.